UPDATE 8:41 a.m.: A statement from the Golden Corral franchisee, Metro Corral Partners LLC, was publicly released. Read the statement below.
Brandon Huber, an employee at a Golden Corral in Port Orange, Fla., posted a video on YouTube that went viral early Monday morning. The video revealed raw food being left next to a dumpster allegedly during a health inspection. The video depicts hamburgers, ribs and other food sitting in racks in unhealthy conditions next to a dumpster, with flies hopping on and off the raw meat for approximately two hours. The food was allegedly returned to the freezer after the inspection was completed and stored with uncontaminated food until it was reported via text message to an area manager. It was then disposed of in the kitchen area after the manager received information about the food-storage conditions.
According to one of the several email correspondences on YouTube, “no extra steps [were] taken to sanitize the freezer area or kitchen area where the food was stored until its disposal.”
In a followup video, Huber expressed concern about the fate of his job: “I’m scared of my employment. I don’t know who to tell. I don’t want to cook this food. I don’t feel safe with it.”
Huber explains further, “Now, my management is going to wheel it back into the coolers after the inspection like nothing ever happened.”
Prior to video being posted, Huber listed an eBay auction for information of the previously unidentified franchise where the first photos of the food storage conditions were posted. The information was priced at $5,000.
After several comments on Reddit and YouTube expressed concern that he was attempting to “blackmail” his manager with the eBay listing prior to posting the video, he also posted each email complaint regarding the chain’s food-handling procedures.
The emails detail alleged food mishandling, including “[retrieving] baked goods, cookies, peach cobblers, etc.,” which were “being stored in the trunk of john’s car who is a manager to avoid qsc inspectors. These baked goods were stored in his truck for an undetermined amount of time and were served to the public after being retrieved from the trunk of the vehicle.”
Another email details alleged threats by management “to do bodily harm or cause death” to the employee who tried to file several complaints.
A followup email also alleges, “No extra steps were taken to decontaminate the rack and cart used to hold the food that was stored out at the dumpster area. This rack and cart were used the next day for business and are still being used with no extra steps being taken. With the amount of maggots and flies that came in contact with these items, its hard to believe they are still being used to serve the public.”
IBTimes contacted Golden Corral corporate headquarters for comment. Golden Corral franchisee owner Eric Holm, of Metro Corral Partners LLC, released a statement about the incident:
"A video was recently posted showing an incident of improper food handling at our Port Orange, Florida, location. None of these items were served to a single customer. All were destroyed within the hour at the direction of management. Brandon Huber, the employee who made the video, participated in the disposal of the food.
"The following day, the father of the employee posted an offer to sell the video for $5,000, which was not accepted.
"The manager involved in the improper storage was terminated for failing to follow approved food-handling procedures.”
Golden Corral is a Franchise buffet style restaurant based out Raleigh, North Carolina.
Take a look at Huber’s videos above. What do you think about the alleged food-handling practices at this Golden Corral? Let us know in the comments.
Luke Villapaz is a Multimedia Producer at the International Business Times. He comes from a diverse media background working freelance in production and photography. Luke...